How enjoying your food can help you feel in control of your weight!
You absolutely CAN feel in control of your weight, even at Christmas! And yes, even if you ‘love your food too much’. The key is enjoying your food, REALLY enjoying it. Trust me, I know you probably don’t believe me, but keep reading…
It’s all about learning to eat more mindfully.
Mindful eating is one of my favourite things to teach, because it’s mainly about enjoying your food & ditching that shitty guilt you pick up from the diets & slimming-clubs! You might’ve heard of mindfulness, which is about being present & living in the moment. Well, mindful eating is about applying that awareness to your eating.
It’s the opposite of mindless eating, which is eating without thinking. That automatic eating we’ve all done in front of the TV or at the cinema. You know when you look down and wonder where the hell did that packet of biscuits go?! No self-judgement needed, it’s just that consistent mindless eating isn’t going to help you if you’re struggling with your weight & over-eating. It definitely isn’t going to help you get real enjoyment from your food.
Whereas learning to eat more mindfully helps you to feel in control of your eating, which then helps you to feel in control of your weight. It helps you notice when you’re satisfied so you stop eating before you feel stuffed so you’re less likely to over-eat. Also we’ve talked before about how ditching those judgemental labels around yourself & food, helps you too.
When I teach mindful eating, I always split it into 3 stages; before eating, your ‘eating environment’ & how you’re eating.
Here are my 3 steps to eating more mindfully
Step 1 – Plan how to eat regular balanced meals.
Planning your meals as much as possible means you’re more likely to get well balanced meals (if you’re not sure what a balanced meal is then check out my free course to make it easier). Making a meal plan for the week & writing a shopping list helps you make sure you have everything you need. It’s especially helpful to think in advance during the festive season when you may have a lot going on, which you need to work around. A little planning makes everything easier and eating regular balanced meals means less snacking, picking or cravings.
Are there times you might need to prepare food in advance to make it easier for yourself? How could you plan for meals out and parties to help yourself eat balanced meals? If you’re busy with fun activities, visiting family or just out of your normal routine, how could you keep eating regularly to avoid getting too hungry, which leads to over-eating?
Step 2 – Make meal times about food
Try to make meal times about eating and paying attention to your food as much as possible. If you can, eat up to a table so that you’re sitting up straight and you’re able to put your cutlery down between mouthfuls. Get rid of any distractions like TV, phones and work. Make meal times a social occasion by eating together as a family if you have kids – it’s a good example for them. Avoid eating on the go or while you’re doing other things – you’re less likely to notice when you’ve eaten enough or enjoy your food.
Where do you eat food, not just your main meals, but the rest of the things you eat? Do you notice the difference it makes to how much you eat & the kinds of things you eat?
Step 3 – Pay attention to yourself & your eating
Learn to turn into your appetite & hunger cues so you can decide how much you need to eat, when you need to eat and when you’re satisfied so you can stop. Pay attention to how you’re feeling so you know whether you’re eating for real hunger or just out of boredom or for comfort. Instead of thinking of food in terms of ‘the yummy things you need to restrict’ or stuff you need to force yourself to eat… Try thinking about how getting a range of different foods means you’re more likely to feel healthy & well.
Engage your senses to savour the different flavours, textures and smells – you’ll enjoy your food more. Take your time over food, chewing slowly, and putting down your cutlery when you’ve taken a bite. Notice when you feel satisfied rather than aiming to feel full! That stuffed feeling is a sign you’ve had too much and it’s easy to get into a habit of eating like that all the time.
But avoid beating yourself up about how you’ve eaten. Take a step back and notice what you’re doing without judgement. It’s about eating in a balanced way; enjoying yourself as well as eating to keep yourself healthy. Give yourself permission to have what you fancy without guilt! And even if you end up over-doing it, remember the bigger picture and draw a line.
Have a go this festive season. What would make the biggest difference to you – eating more slowly so you notice when you’re satisfied rather than over-eating? Paying more attention to your food so you enjoy it more?
Have a think about how you normally eat this time of year and make a little tweak – remember it’s all about what you do most of the time. No need to do it all perfectly!
Need help to ditch dieting forever? Want to eat normally again AND lose weight healthily ..? While still enjoying the cake & chocolate? Hell yes!
I can help you ditch dieting forever, either with my 1-2-1 support. Or if you prefer to work independently, you can learn all the skills I teach my 1-2-1 clients, on my ‘No More Diets’ online course.
My Weekly Round-up! AKA; what I’ve been up to recently…
- Tea of the week has been Earl Grey coz I’ve been away for a few days & that’s usually the most interesting tea available at cafes!
- My mum & I, took Genevieve & my niece to the Christmas market in Birmingham and stayed in a hotel for a few nights. We normally go and stay over for one night as it’s a little adventure for the girls! We missed last year due to the pandemic so my niece decided we should do two nights this year.
- Had some yummy food out including an amazing coconut, raspberry & chocolate brownie type thingy – omnomnom!
- Didn’t go on many walks apart from walking into town to the dentist, so didn’t see many interesting birds, apart from 4 cormorants by the River Severn! Also I saw loads of pheasants from the train to Birmingham. Hopefully will catch up on some more walks next week instead.
- I’ve had THREE Christmas do’s this week – get me being all sociable! Although two of them were virtual and on the same night – a cocktail tasting session, which was technically Sam’s work do, and one with an online writing community I’m in. The third was an actual in-person meal with a group of my fave bizbuddies and it was amazing to see them in real life for the first time in forever! Also first time wearing heels in years, which was agony – ha!
- Woohoo the next season of The Witcher landed on Netflix and we’re loving it so far. Who doesn’t love a bit of medieval badassery with some magic, monsters and gorgeous costumes?! And I have to say I prefer Henry Cavill with long hair and a bit of a frown – hmm!